Use of electronic devices while driving remains steady: report

Washington – The use of electronic devices while driving remained relatively unchanged in 2012 from 2011, according to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis.

Researchers observed driver behaviors in 37,813 vehicles at 1,366 sites throughout the United States between June 4 and 17, 2012. Among the findings:

  • An estimated 5 percent of all drivers on the roads at any given daylight moment were holding a phone to their ear, the same as in 2011.
  • Motorists visibly talking on headsets while driving also stayed about the same at 0.6 percent.
  • The percentage of drivers who were seen texting or otherwise manipulating a handheld device increased to 1.5 percent from 1.2 in 2011 – not a statistically significant change.
  • Visible use of handheld phones remained highest among 16- to 24-year-old drivers, at about 6 percent, and lowest among drivers 70 or older, at about 1 percent.

The findings were gathered as part of an annual nationwide probability-based observation survey known as the National Occupant Protection Use Survey.